Retired Eastwood teacher fundraises for charity mission to Kenya

Bernadette Drake in Kenya last year
Bernadette Drake in Kenya last year

A retired teacher from Eastwood is fundraising for her second charity mission to Kenya.

Bernadette Drake, aged 62 travelled to Nakuru, Kenya with her husband Michael, aged 66, and 73 others to volunteer at the Cherish School, one of the city’s slum schools.
The couple decided to take the trip as a gift to each other for their 40th wedding anniversary last year.

Michael Drake

Michael Drake

Bernadette said: “It was an inspiring and emotional time.
“We wanted to do something totally out of our comfort zone.
“At first it was just Michael that was going, but after attending the information meetings, I was hooked.
“I was amazed by the videos of the children, they were so happy and sincere.”

Bernadette and Michael were just as impressed with the youngsters when they arrived in Nakuru.
Bernadette added: “The children were constantly smiling and were so grateful for the support we gave them.
“Their lives are so humble and the children have such aspirations.
“They appreciate how lucky they are to receive a free education and a hot meal each day, and are prepared to walk for an hour and a half to get to school.”
Bernadette and the other volunteers spent time building classrooms, teaching, playing with the children, and cooking their dinners .
Volunteers also started building a toilet block.
Part of the fee to go on the trip will go towards taking clothing, books and toys to the children.

Bernadette, who has previously taught at Priory School Eastwood, is keen to return to volunteer this year, on the trip in May.
“I am looking forwards to going back and seeing the developments that have been made since last year.” She added.
“We will return to the same school, and we have had updates from the head teacher the whole time.”
The trip is organised by Derby County Community Trust, a charity that partners with African Adventures to organise the volunteers trips to schools across Africa.
To raise the money needed for the cost of the trip, , Bernadette and her friend Samantha Housam have organised a Spring Craft Fair on March 23.
Stalls will include Nottingham lace, knitted baby blankets, soft toys, beauty products, jewellery, candles and plants.
There will also be entertainment from the RocknSoul singers from Underwood, who are raising funds for The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Derby County Community Trust has been running the ‘Rams in Kenya’ trip for the past seven years.
Since its first trip in 2012, the initiative has grown from 13 volunteers on the first visit to 73 on the latest.
Bernadette added: “You can’t feel sorry for the children as much as you want to, because they love their lives.
“They will play in the playground just drawing pictures in the dirt."
Bernadette and Samantha’s fair will take place at Our Lady of Good Counsel social centre on Nottingham Road, Eastwood.

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